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ARLINGTON, Va. — The former second-highest-ranking U.S. general in Iraq has been nominated to become the new director of the group tasked with beating roadside bombs.

President Bush has nominated Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz to take over the Joint IED Defeat Organization, a Defense Department news release says.

Metz currently is the deputy commanding general/chief of staff of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va.

If confirmed, he would replace retired Gen. Montgomery Meigs, who became head of anti-IED efforts in December 2005, when JIEDDO was still a task force.

Metz deployed to Iraq in January 2004 as commander of III Corps and officially became deputy to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who then was the top U.S. general in Iraq that February.

Then in May 2004, the command structure in Iraq was split: Sanchez became head of Multi-National Force–Iraq and Metz became commander of Multi-National Corps–Iraq until February 2005.

In March 2004, Metz made news when he said he thought U.S. troops would be in Iraq until 2006.

If approved by the Senate, Metz would be the highest-ranking active-duty military officer to be in charge of the effort to defeat roadside bombs, which was helmed by Army Brig. Gen. Joseph Votel prior to Meigs.

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